Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Enola Holmes's Watson

 As the host of a podcast called "The Watsonian Weekly" and editor of a journal called The Watsonian, I find myself of late being rather Watson focused. And today, with Enola Holmes arriving on Netflix, one might think, "How sad, no Watson for a Watsonian to fuss over in this Watson-less film!"

But after two viewings of that very delightful film, I have decided it has one of the most remarkable Watsons any movie has ever given us.

And, no, it's not Tewkesbury. Come on, now. Tewkesbury. Pshaw.

No, the movie Enola Holmes gives her a Watson that embodies exactly what John H. Watson has often been at his best, what Conan Doyle gave us with the original John H., and what many a Sherlockian has seen Watson as over the years: an everyperson.

Watson is us, finding Holmes remarkable, hearing his thoughts that no others hear.

And in the case of Enola Holmes, her Watson is, very literally, us.

I was delighted to see her fourth-wall breaks in the previews, so much like Deadpool and with Millie Bobbie Brown showing all the charm of a Ryan Reynolds in talking straight to the camera. But what I didn't realize then was that the movie was going to use that technique to make us her Watson.

Enola Holmes lets us accompany her throughout the adventure as your silent companion, giving us her side comments and sometimes just a look. The audience was entirely meant to be her Watson, and I'm amazed that no one has tried it before. Or maybe not, because John Watson is so fitted for Sherlock. But a new kind of Holmes deserves a new kind of Watson, and director Harry Bradbeer made a brilliant choice in using the fourth-wall breaks to give Enola that Watson.

There is a lot to love about this new Holmes film, and what more could any Watsonian want than to get to be a Watson for an adventure like this?  Bravo to everyone involved.